Nissan exec. David Kershaw on boosting minority-owned car dealerships with development program

At the close of 2020, the number of minority-owned dealerships rose to 1,257, resulting in a net gain of 17 for Nissan. Although the overall numbers are still disproportionately low, Nissan is committed to improving the situation. On today’s show, we’re pleased to welcome David Kershaw, Division Vice President of Dealer Network Development and Customer Quality for Nissan US and Canada.

Kershaw begins the conversation talking about what Nissan is doing to garner more minority dealers. Kershaw says they’ve been working hard on their current dealer diversity program. It’s a first of its kind for Nissan as a brand. Kershaw says they’ve worked extremely close with NAMAD (National Association of Minority Dealers) and have had a great relationship with them throughout the years. He says it’s all about flexibility because a lot of owners are looking for that as they build their portfolios. From day one, their candidates own the store and they can count on support from Nissan.

As far as Nissan’s goal regarding the number of minority dealers, Kershaw says, they are in a favorable position. He says they don’t necessarily have a set goal in mind for a certain number. Instead, they’re focusing on the best program with the candidates and opportunities for them to be successful.

The biggest challenge for a minority candidate is the substantial financial commitment that it takes, says Kershaw. Nissan’s diversity development program addresses that head-on, and they have financial assistance for incoming candidates. Kershaw says, currently within their brand, they have seen where majority owners have come in and allowed partnership with a minority and then a buyout happens.

Kershaw ends the conversation by sharing his thoughts on when things will be back to normal, regarding the inventory shortage. He says, they’ll continue to work with their suppliers, making sure they are accessing where the impacts are. Nissan has been in the midst of a few product launches. He thinks the semiconductor issue will be with us for a while. Kershaw says he’s excited about the future for Nissan, their new products, and how their dealers are doing.

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